Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The End of E'Val

Now to fin an evil clone of a walking Force-sensitive piece of a coral that contains DND of all living things in the galaxy, and Drath, and the Sith artifacts and empty Dark Harvester that he took. It's readily apparent that E-Val is not on Coruscant. Surmising that the easiest way off-planet would be for Drath's Force ghost to possess a pilot and take a ship, they ask Erin to look into that.

Dalt and Oola poke at the full Dark Harvester, but gowhere significant with it. Ree goes through Harth's database for information, and discovers no data on his bases, but some on the Harvesters. She forwards that to Dalt, who speculates: if they put the Zabraks back, will they be Force-sensitive? Dark Siders? They were, after all, tortured, betrayed and sucked into an evil device. He thinks they could let a couple out to see what happens, suggesting they might put them in droid bodies...but of course that could have consequences: "Trapped in an unfeeling shell of metal and wire." Ree believes they should leave the Council and Senate to decide.

Figuring he's the closest thing to an evil mastermind they've got (and often better at it than he's given credit for), Kedrihm'Val asks Dalt what he would do with an E-Val. Dalt thinks he would possess E-Val, use the Dark Harvester on Abindosan's coral, take the Zabraks and drop them into the coral and rule over the planet. to put the Zabraks someplace safe. How about a ship's computer? Dalt suggests the Falcon Oola's skeptical. So Dalt returns to his idea of popping out a Zabrak to see what it does.

Ree has a probe sent toward the Chiss Ascendency, as she's growing concerned about their silence. Kedrihm'Val meditates to see if he can't get a bead on his evil clone. Farseeing gives him a vision of a star field, a base (one of Harth's), Drath in a new body, and E-Val. They have a True Sith ship. He describes the star field to Oola, who recognizes it as the sky of the Hapes Consortium. This is a problem: they're isolationist and detest Jedi. They wouldn't willfully hide Drath, but without evidence, it's the word of the Jedi against 64 planets and a matriarchal culture.

The Council meditates together (including Ree) and receive a vision: chaos in the Temple's halls, people fleeing from the Council chambers. Luke and Kyp locked in lightsaber combat, Luke possessed. Ree herself calling on the comm screen. Han walks through Ree and shoots Luke in the back.

Ree wakes and the whole Council is staring at her. "Well," she says.
"We need a protocol for accessing that holocron that doesn't involve me," Luke says. "Don't look at me like that, Ree. We may need that information." But Kyp stares at him too. On the heels of that thought, Ree shares her idea about building a shielded orbital platform for disturbing stuff.

Kedrihm'Val tells the others about the Hapes Consortium. The necessary clearances are arranged, but "Fun to be you," Luke tells them when he hands them the papers.
"Could be worse," Ree says pointedly.
"Sweet," Oola says, taking the papers. "Just what I've always wanted." Zan and Dalt will be staying behind this time. Zan tells Z to behave.

On arrival, the place is extravagant, a planet designed for kings and queens. This blows CorSec out of the water. They're placed in diplomatic quarters, each in their own suite. Kecrihm'Val notices the courtyard fountain is spooky. Onna explains that it's where they drown royal infants that are considered imperfect.

Ree gets stared at. Apparently the group is recognized. Ree and Kedrihm'Val are disconcerted by the very enthusiastic servants--all male slave-class, and handsome. Z is saddened. They'll have a meeting with the ambassador later that day, and until then are free to explore.

Wandering around, Ree sees people watching Primal Justice. She steps on a datapad as she re-enters her suite. It explains that True Sith ships have homing beacons in order to find or be found by nearby allies in the event of accident. They can be activated by a certain signal...which is also on the datapad. "Thanks, to my mysterious spiritual benefactor," Ree says to the air, then takes the pad to Oola.

At their meeting, the ambassador informs them that they may have a week for their manhunt, and will be expected not to cause too much social upheaval. After the meeting, Z asks, "Any chance of going someplace we can get chick servants? Is everybody around here gay?"
"No," replies Lydia. "They're women."

Activating the signal shows that the ship is hidden at a casino on a resort moon. The transmission stops when they reach the planet, but they manage to narrow it to somewhere around one of the dock/repair quadrants.

They inform the local security of their arrival and purpose. Z is feeling more cheerful around the money, booze, and lounging half-naked women (who are mostly the rich ones, which is fine with him). They're given four security officers to accompany them while Oola narrows the signal down to a warehouse with the Queen's symbol on the doors. The agents tell them it's been locked for ages. The royal family often purchases storage units and property that they just stash stuff in and largely ignore. They're feeling uncomfortable about tangling with royal property. Obliging them in their desire to avoid vandalism, the group searches for another entrance, but there's no sign the building has been opened at all.

On the other hand, some careful searching and scanning reveals a tunnel down on the cliffside that's big enough to admit a ship. They get in that way, and emerge into a cargo bay, on a catwalk about 20 feet above the floor. Sure enough, there's the True Sith ship and the Sith artifacts. A Zabrak (clearly Drath in a different body) stands talking to a familiar Zeltron and examining the ship. They've got five thugs with them. E-Val isn't visible, but Kedrihm'Val can feel him nearby, and can guess that E-Val knows he's here too-

-and then Lydia spins toward the Hapes agents, as they fire at and stun Oola and Onna. Ree throws one agent at one of the thugs below (noting as she does that they're not being mind-controlled), and Z, Lydia, and Kedrihm'Val take the others out.

Ree gets yanked off the balcony with the Force, hit by flying debris, and shot at. Kedrihm'Val leaps off and slam-kicks Drath to break his concentration. Recovering quickly, Ree hits the Zeltron so hard she stuns her. Z snipes thugs from the catwalk while Lydia follows the other Force-users down. Ree turns on Drath as he attacks Kedrihm'Val. Drath knocks them both back and then runs for it, leaping backward into the True Sith ship. Two thugs follow him, and the other that's still standing tries to flee.

Kedrihm'Val pauses briefly to heal himself from the pounding Drath just administered while Ree tells Oola to lock the place down. "What can I hit to make sure the ship can't fly so good?" she asks the Twilek.
"Engines are exposed." Ree makes quick work of them.

Then the ship's turrets activate. Oola uses the signal they were given to shut them down.

But while they were distracted, the Zeltron got back up. She works her whammy on Kedrihm'Val. From his vantage point, Z sees it and tries to knock him down before he can do any damage, but Kedrihm'Val dodges, then lays into him. Good thing Z's armor rocks, because Kedrihm'Val pounds the hell out of it. The Zeltron attacks Ree. While they're occupied, Drath's lightsaber comes flying out of the ship and strikes Oola, who ducks back into cover in the entry passage, knowing better than to try to confront him directly. "Run down that pipe!" Drath shouts at her. "Frreaking Twilek...leave my ship alone!"

Z swings his helmet at Kedrihm'Val, trying to get it on him so it can block the Zeltron's pheromones. He misses with that, but knees the other man in the stomach. Onna joins in, trying and failing to stun him. Then Ree lands a blow on the Zeltron, and Kedrihm'Val tumbles away from the other two to protect her, knocking Ree down. Seeing the opening, Drath leaps down on her from on top of the ship. Lydia charges him. Onna throws itching powder at Kedrihm'Val. The Zeltron attacks Lydia.

Ree takes that opening to hit the Zeltron again, so Kedrihm'Val trips her. Drath swings at Ree, Lydia intercepts, Z tries to get the helmet on Kedrihm'Val again, and Kedrihm'Val dodges him again. And that's what happens in a close-on mass melee with everybody taking attacks of opportunity.

Oola, meanwhile, avoids that whole fiasco and pokes around in the ship.

Ree Force-lights Drath, distracting him, while Kedrihm'Val dodges Onna's and Z's flurry of attempts to subdue or get the helmet on him ("Stop it, Z!" he snaps). Frustrated with his inability to touch the Abindosani, Z turns on the Zeltron with his flechette launcher, which results in three Force-users dripping with gore that used to be a Zeltron.

And E-Val attacks Oola.

The ship gets dragged forward. Z shields a distracted Kedrihm'Val, Drath throws it and then hits the dirt, and Ree grabs the ship. Oola screams for help.

Drath hops back up and runs. Kedrihm'Val kyps up and Force-speeds toward Oola, dodging Drath's other lightsaber, which he'd trapped. Ree does a flip over the ship and she and Lydia hunt Drath. Onna stays to keep watch.

E-Val knocks out Oola then aims a flurry of blows at Kedrihm'Val, who blocks them.

Drath flees out of the facility, leaps up toward a wall then bounces off it back at Ree to attack from above.

Kedrihm'Val and E-Val exchange kicks, punches, and parries. Z slides in behind Kedrihm'Val to grab Oola, but E-Val sweeps her up and bolts. Droids come flying back toward Z and Kedrihm'Val, who Force-shoves them to the side. Drath's cast-off lighsaber starts beeping, and the two of them run for their lives, dodging debris as the tunnel mouth explodes.

Ree has Drath down, tied up, and drugged when she, Lydia, and Onna hear the tunnel explode. The three women consider their next move. Ree worries whether the rest of the Hapan security agents are corrupted, and orders SARR to disable any ship leaving the planet that his sensors register coral on.

Chasing E-Val, the men come out of the tunnel facing a line of security agents. E-Val flips over their heads. Kedrihm'Val just charges through. Z flame-throwers the ones Kedrihm'Val didn't knock down. As they approach the edge of the spaceport, E-Val tosses Oola to two security guards and turns to face off against his double. The guardes run into a nearby hangar.

Kedrihm'Val Force-lights E-Val, who blocks it with a ball of black energy. Kedrihm'Val falters in surprise. "That's new."

Z fires at the security town taking aim at him and Kedrihm'Val. They hear screaming and lightsabers in the hangar, and a lot of blaster fire. "I consider that checkmate," Kedrihm'Val comments, knowing it must be SARR and INON. E-Val nods in acknowledgement. Kedrihm'Val attacks again, but E-Val spins and fires a grappling gun at a departing transport. Kedrihm'Val grabs him. Z flies up, dislodges the grapple, and drops them into a nearby lake.

Surfacing, E-Val tries to force Kedrihm'Val under. Kedrihm'Val pulls out the Force crystal, which his clone knocks out of his hand. He has to go diving for it, so E-Val uses the chance to get to shore and run. Z's been circling and watching, though. He slows E-Val down with a grapple-gun to the kidneys while Kedrihm'Val catches the crystal and catches up.

E-Val tears out the hook and keeps moving, getting behind another company of security guards in order to buy time to heal. Z fights the guards. E-Val mutters something to a guard with a jetpack, who nods and takes off.

Oola wakes, grabs SARR and INON to go after E-Val with the ship.

Kecrihm'Val leaps over the guards, letting Z deal with them. Another exchange of attacks, then E-Val Force-lightnings him.

And then he surrenders. Kedrihm'Val only hesitates briefly before using the Force crystal on him, killing him. And thereby he earns himself a Dark Side point and has to fight not to let the Force crystal be corrupted, because that was pretty cold.

At that's the point at which Ree and the others catch up.

There's no sign of the stolen coral. Chances are E-Val gave it to that security guard. All they've got are ship logs, which say that Drath stopped on Ilum.

And then an uncorrupted Hapan security officer finally shows up, quite apologetic.

With nothing left to do there, they head back to Coruscant with their prisoners. Kedrihm'Val spends the trip feeling kind of lousy, but frankly he doesn't really regret it.

Oola spots a mark on her arm, from a DNA extractor. Figuring E-Val was responsible, she puts an ID chip in herself just in case and then warns her family. Dalt, on the comm, points out that an expert could separate out her parents' DNA and clone them using her blood. They've got a second True Sith ship for Dalt to poke, and the Consortium has two thugs they might be able to get to talk. They check the man Drath is possessing, to make sure he's actually still alive. Nobody's got any bead on the missing coral.

Drath wakes up en route, and bothers Ree about saving the galaxy from the True Sith. Kedrihm'Val reminds them that he's a spirit possessing a man, so he'll be dangerous around people who can be possessed. Drath asks about E-Val and Oola's DNA. "But you don't know where they're going with it?" he asks. "Just remember I told you so when you're holding a decapitated Kyp Durron."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The demise of Lady Sent

After all the recent excitement, Zan recommends rest for the group. Ree blissfully prepares for a decent night of sleep...

...which of course she doesn't get. She's awakened by a sense of malevolence, and sits up to find Drath's spirit standing at the foot of her bed. He's rock-solid sure they've doomed the universe by killing him, and wants to know how they're going to stop the True Sith from getting Luke. "Kill him, or wrap him in happy thoughts. Since you did away with me and put Darth Maul in a rock, you have to deal with this by yourself."
"Oh! Really?" Ree snarks. "That hadn't occurred to me! Anything else you want before I Force-light you into oblivion?"
Drath leaves.

Kyp knocks. "Something evil your room?" Ree tells him. They wonder about True Sith and telepathy and Force magnifiers. Kyp considers using the Yavin temple Force amplifiers to put up shields.

Drath turns up in Kedrihm'Val's room, who reacts pretty much the same as Ree, then leaves and bothers Dalt, who's working in the lab with Oola. She digs out a Force crystal. Dalt throws a wrench, which goes through Drath--"Huh"--then pulls out a gun. "Ooh!" Drath exclaims, eying Dalt's alarming-looking bit of technology, and flees the scene. It's a Force-light gun, Dalt explains to Oola. They decide to attach one to INON, then Dalt has a brainstorm: why build Force-exploding guns when you can build Force-light guns? "Drath had a good idea, showing up so I almost killed him. I wonder how big we can build it..." He installs one of those Force crystals into a lightsaber.

Kedrihm'Val goes to Ree, and Z stops by because Drath busted in on him too. Kedrihm'Val checks on Zan (yep; Drath ran pretty fast from that one) and Ree checks on Lydia (also yep).

Kedrihm'Val heads down to the hangar bay to check on Oola and Dalt, and arrives in time to hear Oola ask SARR about Drath. He notices Dalt vaporizing a dead True Sith with a Force light gun. He wants more Force crystals. Kedrihm'Val takes one, curious about them. The rest of the crew arrives. Zan likes the idea of going back to Reeshome. He thinks they all deserve pie after this.

Dalt ponders ways of devastating the True Sith fleet. Route the ships' connection through the Force crystals? Or empty the Dark Harvester and channel Rakata Prime's explosion through it?

Before they can go to Reeshome, they have meetings with the Council and the Senate tomorrow, so it's back to bed for everybody.

At the Council meeting, the Jedi agree to use the Yavin temples. They debate the Force gun heavily, preferring Dalt's solution of the lightsabers. Ree suggests they make a couple of prototypes. They could also have healing properties, and they didn't kill people on Thule. Dalt thinks the True Sith ships could be yet another slave race. He's not sure whether they're sentient, but they seem not to be particularly corrupt--unlike the True Sith themselves.

The Jedi inform the Senate of developments. The Senate wants a cataloguing of all outstanding threats.

Kyp's brother, like the other clones, proves to be a Primal Justice geek. He also looks forward to pie, which Ree agrees to bring back for him. So it's off to Reeshome. Her family meets them and fusses elaborately. Ree tells her mother her pies are coveted. Oola and Onna discuss Ree and Kyp and romance notives. Ree sputters with motification. There is pie and food and family relaxation all around. Ree's hopes for her people petitioning for a renaming of their planet are crushed. "They should have a chance to be asked!" she protests.
"You're assuming they weren't," Kedrihm'Val points out.
"Well, they...couldn't...were you?" she turned to her father.
"We were more than happy with it," her dad cheerfully confirms.

Her aunt is doing well. Her dad says, "We expected evil clouds and flight, but..."
"You expected evil clouds and flight," her mother scoffs. "Your father expected it," she says to Ree.
"I'm sure your uncle expected evil clouds and flight," her father counters.
"Maybe it's a guy thing," Ree wonders, then quizzes the rest of the group. Z votes yes. Oola and Onna both say no. Dalt also says no. So maybe it is a guy thing.

After spending a lovely day with her family, it's off to the cave to visit the space ferrets. They're doing fine. Entering the cave, Ree has a vision of the True Sith ships pouring out at Kushiba, which is a planet home to small, fluffy, highly intelligent and agile race, rather like fluffy rabbit-cats. Very cute and highly badass.

Kushiba isn't too far from Rakata Prime. So there'll be a secondary body of True Sith away from the main fleet. But it's a vision of the future. So for now, they'll go on with gathering crystals and water.

Z wonders about battle plans and the Chiss. Ree calls Kyp when they get back and fills him in on Kushiba. He's astounded--her trip was all quiet and pleasant. He says he's going to double guards on the temple because that has to be a bad sign.

Now having what they came for, the Starwind heads for Kushiba. Ree has to master self-discipline to keep from spazzing out over the cuteness. She explains the vision, which the Kushibans ponder with adorable solemnity, and then a wise old rabbit-cat tells them of a legend about a crashed ship from about 500 years ago. He tells them where to find it.

This one looks like a supply ship. The cockpit is empty, and there are no lifeforms or droids. Records indicate the ship was fleeing a space battle, carrying offerings for the Chosen One. The ships in its group were coming in to establish a base for the invasion, and were ambused by "the enemy." This was the only one that survived, too damaged to go further. There are indications that the pilot survived. There was a secondary mission to follow up on an earlier mission to hunt down "the renegade" from 500 years earlier.

The hold contains gold, jewels, a couple of wall-sized stones painted with murals--one is a fight between Luke and Leia, a couple more are pictures of Luke in all his dark glory. There are smaller statues of Luke and Leia standing back to back, displaying black eyes like the evil rulers. Ree finds a gizmo she thinks must be important. Oola identifies it as a scale groomer.

There's a big sealed container and a smaller yay-big container which radiatesevil. The big box contains a suit of Sith armor and a lightsaber, customized for Luke; there's another for Leia. They hold cavities in the chest, into which fit two crystals from the smaller box which ooze Dark Side energy. They're not sentient, exactly, but...grabby. These definitely need to be destroyed, but they're not sure how to do it off-hand.

A call to the temple doesn't get through. Crap. Maybe Kyp was right. They call Zel. It takes a bit to get through, and then they get the news. E-Val escaped along with a possessed padawan. Well...crap.

There's nothing they can do about that from all the way out here, though. While they consider dipping these things in Force water on an asteroid, the doors swing shut. Ree goes to check it out, and finds a True Sith warrior outside, who begins to use the Force to crush the ship. Ree and Zan hold it off. Lydia fires the turbo lasers and blows it up.

They open the door and Ree peeks out to spot a servitor lurking above the door. She cuts it in half. Oola says that's all there were on this ship.

Kyp calls back. They managed to catch and fix the padawan. He wants them to shoot those crystals into a nearby sun. "That seems to work for you a lot," Ree comments, then claps her hand over her mouth.
Kyp doesn't seem too hurt. "Ree! You've been hanging out with Z too much."
He tells them they weren't able to catch E-Val. Didn't even know he was gone till it was too late.

Z wants to look through the treasure. "He wants to find something for his mom," Oola quips. Dalt gets that look on his face. "Don't do it, Dalt," Oola warns him.

They shoot the crystals and armor into a nearby sun, then pick up an automated distress signal from a Naboo ship.

It's docked at a diplomatic center. The ship is empty, and it's Lady Sent's. Logs record that she captured and being returned, then it looks like a fight broke out. All the video equipment has been destroyed. The workers in the hangar bay where it's docked are acting normal, though.

Ree asks one what he saw. He says he saw nothing. She senses he's lying, but he stands by his statement. She gives up, and decides to contact Naboo security instead. Kedrihm'Val thinks maybe Lady Sent lied. Ooal thinks hostages. There's no mention in the log about children.

They scan for Lady Sent and find her in the Queen's residence. Hostages, then. They'll either have to storm the place...or sneak. SARR is disappointed. But Z thinks this is all off. He thinks it's a trap, aimed at them.

So if they're expected, they can't pretend they're not here. Instead Ree and Zan going in fighting to make a scene while the others sneak in. SARR aggravatedly offers to shoot at things without hurting anyone. Oola promises him mayhem when the True Sith arrive.

The Jedi scene very effectively, allowing the sneaking to go without a hitch. When they reach the Queen's residence, Ree notes that history repeats itself: Lady Sent is sitting on the throne with her 14-year-old daughter standing next to her with the tied-up Queen. There's a sealed cloning tube nearby, and no sign of the baby. "Unless it's in the tube," Oola theorizes grimly. Kedrihm'Val glances at Dalt, who agrees it's likely.

Lady Sent releases four globes on repulsor lifts-universal energy cages, which can suck someone in and hold even a Jedi.

If they can get the Queen away, the station's security forces will protect her. And they have to keep Lady Sent away from that tube...

...Aaaand the tube opens. Oola sends droids after the cages to disable the repulsor lifts. Z jets forward to grab the Queen and heads for a window. Kedrihm'Val jumps down to distract the enemy. Lydia charges the clone coming out of the tube--Palpatine. Onna fires at Lady sent.

Dalt leaps forward and hits a cage with his lighsaber, saber in one hand, glowing laser gun in the other. The Sent ladies ignite their lightsabers. Onna herds out the guards. Kedrihm'Val kicks Lady Sent in the head, knocking her lightsaber out of her grasp, and lands two crushing blows. Dalt deals a lethal blow to the daughter, and both women go down.

And then the Emperor Force-lightnings them all.

Zan and Ree arrive, and Zan promptly gets sucked into a cage. Oola goes to work on getting him out, but that leaves Ree to face the clone. She charges him--doesn't knock him down but interrupts his Force lightning, allowing the others to regain their feet.

Ree cuts off his left foot. Z flies back in. Oola gets Zan out and Kedrihm'Val hurls the scraps of the energy cage at the Emperor, knocking him over. Ree takes the opening to attack again.

Oola fills a droid with Force water.

Lydia sidles in to back Ree up, but the assistance isn't necessary as Ree cleaves the Emperor's clone into two tidy pieces. Oola injects his remains with the Force water, making it dissolve, then cleans out the cloning tank. Kedrihm'Val reminds her about the Palpatine women.

"This is a movie," Dalt says.

They ask the security guards about the baby, but they only ever saw genetic material. Ree doesn't want to leave a baby behind. The security helps them look. Dalt observes that babies are yay-big, to which Ree chides him, "You couldn't have been more specific!"
"It's not vision-Dalt's fault if the universe likes to laugh at us," Kedrihm'Val teases.
"It's not my fault if your brain taps into the Force in the most inconvenient way possible," Dalt counters.

There's no sign of the baby, though. The ship's logs were dumped before reaching Naboo. Lady Sent went out of her way to hide the child (bad scenario: she could've given it to the Hutts. Worse scenario: or to Thrawn). Defeated, Ree lets the temple know.

Now that the Jedi have had time to straighten out what happened, Ree gets a more complete report: Drath possessed a padawan (who is okay) in order to steal the coral and release E-Val. No guesses where he's goin. They turn all the offering stuff (minus evil Sith artifacts) over to Luke, who wants the Librarian to look things over first. "There's no love poetry, is there?" he worries.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A lead-recovering a True Sith ship

Ree's awakened in the night by the Felzion holocron activating. It's some species taht looks like a human with face markings and glowing eyes. "Do you really want a Jedi-killing weapon in everybody's hands?" it asks her. She figures that's something for the Council to decide. It gives her the information on how to build it; the weapon ignites the Force in a person, bursting their spirit from their body. Oola helps her put the schematics down on paper, and thinks she and Dalt could probably build one.

Dalt thinks there might indeed be a message embedded in the Abindosani genetic code--a map. There's lots more, he says, but he's scanning specifically for True Sith information. He tells Kedrihm'Val that it looks as though Abindosan records as well as stores, in some kind of reboot pattern for the galaxy. Every sin and virtue of people on random planets could be in there.

Back on Coruscant, Ree tells the Council about the gun. They turn over reports and messages about the Felzin to the Republic, who will summon Stormmaker and Soundmaker to testify before the Senate.

Ree looks into the race of that alien in the Felzin holocron. No records match its type. The Jedi Librarian wonders about the Ancients. Perhaps they were a group of disparate races? Ree turns to leave...and pauses. Turning back to the Librarian, she motions the 'yay big' movement. Tionn's eyes widen. "Did he touch it?" she asks Ree.

Ree thinks back. Yes, she handed it to Luke to look over and then he passed it back. They decide to leave it on the library ship. But Luke told her to keep it...she has INON hang on to it instead. Ree warns Kyp.

About a month and a half left before the True Sith arrive.

The Abindosani DNA slice Dalt's looking at seems to be a map to a location on Abindosan. it's an empty area, Kedrihm'Val tells them: a region of canyons and ancient carved-up plateaus. They head there.

And sure enough, they find a cave, hollowed out by hand ages ago. There are warding sigils carved into the ground before the entrance. Inside is a large cavern, containing a broken old ship. It's not Rakata make, but it's about as old. The ship, a small 3 to 4 person craft, opens for them. There's an aura of decay inside; three dead True Sith warriors sit hunched over, looking like they died in the crash, along with the corpses of two servitor monsters. The computer looks like it could be repaired. Everything's well-preserved. There are some board games in a container set in the wall.

Dalt sprays cologne in the air. Z complains, "You're making it smell like a two-credit Coruscanti whore in here."
"Aww, do you miss your mother?" Dalt asks.
Kedrihm'Val sighs and grabs Z.

Oola snags a map off the computer, along with some historical files. It's a True Sith scout ship, dated post-galactic conquest. This crash is about 3 to 4000 years old, after the True Sith first encountered Revan. He'd apparently united some other races against them, and built enough of a force that the True Sith had trouble with them. This computer remained active until 1500 years ago. The ships seems to be somewhat linked in a hive mind, for effectiveness in combat. Interesting fact: as of 1500 years ago, they were still talking about Revan in the present tense.

That combat link could be a weakness. If they can figure out how to exploit it, it could dent and disorganize the True Sith, keep them from regrouping after the planet-bomb, "till we can figure out where their leader is and implement Han's plan," Z says.

They try to ponder ways Revan--or "Revan"--could still have been functioning 1500 years ago. Anyway, they think they might be able to modify the Force-igniting blasters to work specifically on the True Sith. They take the ship back with them for study.

The ship, in fact, is in excellent condition, having healed itself since the crash. The True Sith seem capable of partially interfacing with their organic ships...and if the ships are oganic--alive, even--they could be poisoned.

They report back to Kyp. No word yet on Lady Sent. He says, "We'll find Lady Palpatine. She didn't even ahve to change her name."
Ree: "Was that necessary?"
Kyp: "No. I'll take you to the opera to make up for it."

Then they get a few days of downtime, till Lydia gets back with her newly-constructed lightsaber. "Kyp says you brought back something yay-big," she greets Ree. "I'm not around, the place goes to hell."

Steampunk Star Wars

Lydia leaves to build her lightsaber, as she prepares for her knighthood. The others get debriefed. Dalt has much to say.
Regarding Luke, he warns them: "It was on a wall! A really well-drawn wall."
On the evil rock: "Let me explain something to you from a scientific standpoint: some things you don't know till you crack it open." Ree wants the rock destroyed. She tells Dalt to work with Kedrihm'Val on communicating with the coral. Oola will poke Drath's computer core for more information. The others will spend some time learning more about the True Sith from their various resources.

Ree and Zan report to the Jedi Council.

Oola digs up Drath's plans for dealing with the True Sith. Still no explanation on why he wanted the concentrated life force of all his people, but apparently it's important somehow.

The Jedi debate spiritedly over the Sent situation. Ree's concerned about his family's safety if they release the information. Kyp wonders if his family isn't evil too. The Council puts an investigator on the case. Then they turn their attention to one really angry Maul-rock.

The Republic begins to prepare for war.

Dalt wants a thorough genetic scan of every Abindosani. He thinks that the information from the reefs may be coded into them in bits and pieces.

Ree scours temple archives for anything on the True Sith. She discovers a planet on the Perlemian trade route has ancient myths about an evil space-reptile people who exhibited Dark Side powers. It sort of sounds like the True Sith warrior caste. The myths come from a prehuman civilization that still dwells on the planet. They're a stubborn race that prefers to be left alone.

Dalt tells Ree about the gene-scans he wants to execute. Kedrihm'Val is concerned about getting his people to cooperate with yet another technological intrusion.
"Tell them evil from the stars is coming to eat their crops," Dalt suggests.
"Well, they know that," Kedrihm'Val replies.
"Tell them it's not me for a change," Dalt offers. "Tell them it's threatening."
Kedrihm'Val applies himself to convincing his people this is necessary.

Ree sets Zel to dig up information on Senator Sent's family. Turns out he already has: they're vacationing on Corellia. The children are a 14-year-old and a newborn. Looking into it further, he gets back to her a few days later with "vague and disturbing indications." Sent's wife comes from extraordinarily blue blood, but the truth is that she's adopted. And the Sents have...extremely redundant genetic material.
"Oh my god, twice?!" Ree exclaims. As in, the Emperor had sex twice? Zel refutes this. He believes they might be twins. "Separated and then...united," as he puts it disgustedly. Ree is revolted. "Oh! I thought I was prepared for this. I need to go dunk my head in bacta."

Oola installs a cloaking device on the Starwind. Ree tells the Council she has a report to give. "Oh, we'll be looking forward to it," is the polite reply.
"No, you won't," she tells them grimly.

The next day, the Jedi send Medical Corp personnel to Abindosan. Dalt works on information as it gets back to him. Oola, unable to find anything, figures that Drath didn't trust his information to his computer. Ree goes to breakfast with everybody. Z says he'll hunt down Sent's family and make sure they're kept track of, but "What'll you arrest them for? Conspiracy to commit incest with the Emperor's genes? Unless you can find something, this'll have to be handled with primal justice."

"Nice setup," Zann comments.

Z learns they've fled Corellia for the Outer Rim, but he gets onto tracking them.

When she tells them, the Council is equally revolted, and decides to release the tapes. And they decide to send the Starwind to that planet to hunt the True Sith myths.

The Republic Cultural Office sends packages to them all with cultural guidelines and local costumes. These include corsets and long skirts for the ladies, and modified armor for Z, who's quite excited. Dalt, for his part, loves the "accoutrements." Kedrihm'Val wonders how the top hats are supposed to stay on.

A Jedi from that planet is working on Yavin; they set up a briefing with him. The natives look rather like vary large stick bugs, and are treated as servants or slaves by the human classes. The planet is named Avanris.

So it's to Avanris to interview the Felzin people. They meet a Republic ambassador, Alik Tell, upon arrival. He tells them talking to the Felzin will be difficult, and suggests starting at the museum. Going straight to the Felzin ghetto would offend the local humans, who are big on propriety. Besides, the Felzin are unlikely to trust them immediately. The humans here call themselves Avarians, and the scholars are eager to show off their knowledge.

Alik calls them a cab to go to the museum--it looks like a carriage on repulsor lifts. Some are towed by elaborate mechanical animals. The city's bustling.

They're introduced to the museum's curator, Sir Neville Ironbrand, who goes straight to Dalt as the most refined-looking gentleman there. Zan introduces them around. Demonstrating magnificent racism, Ironbrand is confused as to why they'd care about local legends. He invites them to his sitting room to talk futher.

The guy seems to be obsessed with time. He has clocks and alarms everywhere. Ree compliments him on his collection, to which he graciously replies, "Time is very important to us."

Tthe Felzin, they see, have 12 legs, four arms, and triangular heads with turban-like hats, which apparently are some form of religious garb. Their legends are of creatures they call "star dragons." Ironbrand shows them a picture, which is a good match for the True Sith warriors. These Star Dragons enslaved the Felzin for a few centuries until they were somehow driven off. "Your standard hero myth," he sums up. "Could it really have a basis in fact? Chalk that up to the first useful thing to come from this part of the planet."

When an assistant comes in, Ironbrand begs off briefly. Oola overhears a discussion of a break-in of one of the exhibits. He accepts Ree's offer of help.

When he leads them to the site, the police are already there--complete with bobby hats. Seargent Oscar Copperpot is in charge of the scene. A thin, squirrly-looking guy is pacing agitatedly. He's introduced as Sir Roderick Burd, an archaeologist. His companion, Sir Nigel Stormmaker, is en route.

Looking around, Ree sees something odd in the 100-foot high vaulted ceiling. She points it out to the policemen, who blow her off and admire the architecture. She tries again, directing their attention to the vent.

The others, meanwhile, get to hear mutterings about a curse. Dr. Burd seems to buy into it. "They were holy artifacts," he keeps insisting. Sir Neville, on the other hand, dismisses it entirely. The thefts included a book on Felzin burial rites, collected tablets of their mythology, and some "ancient tools." The chamber's recording devices were knocked out, which leads the police to dismiss Felzin involvement. "Too smart for them," they scoff. Neville agrees: "When we had them install the security system, they had no idea what they were doing. They had to be constantlly instructed." Z's head turns slowly toward him as he continues, "Must be the criminal element, or magic."

Wow. That's a special sort of ignorant.

The exhibit glass was clearly cut from above using razor-sharp tools. Noting the Felzin servants scuttling around in the background, Z realizes their lowest set of arms consist of pincers that would be sharp enough to do it. They also have wings.

Sir Stormmaker barges in. The man looks like a hardcore adventurer, with a broad, strong frame and tough, durable, leather-accented clothing. Seargent Copperpot intercepts him. "Well, Sir Nigel, we believe it's the curse."
Sir Nigel looks at him. "Really. Do you."

Firguring they've done about all they can here for the moment, the crew proceeds to the rooms the ambassador arranged for them. The Felzin are everywhere, towing rickshaws, driving, carrying, fetching, doing random labor. Kedrihm'Val is horrified. Ree, for her part, is shocked by the blindness they've encountered over the Felzin. Onna wants to research the curse. She notes that the ancient tools seem to be technological in nature. One is essentially a holocron, but built from technology developed independently by the Felzin. So much for unsophisticated.

Their rooms are absolutely opulent. Ree tries not to choke on it, gently thanking the Felzin who drops off their bags.

They hear on the news that the lead suspect in the robbery is one Lord Demetrius Nighthand. Wearing smoked glasses and a jet pack, bearing a cane accented by various gizmos, he's apparently the local villain du jour. There's also a report that "undesirable elements" are protesting against bad treatment of the Felzin outside the city's main post office.

Ree wants to talk to Stormmaker, who's the only person who's displayed consistent common sense so far. "He might be outside the post office," Kedrihm'Val observes.

The news continues to talk about gatherings of Felzin around their religious centers. there's a controversy over whether they should be allowed to gather so. Lady Delilah Soundmaker is apparently the undesirable element in question; she's demonstrating in support of Felzin rights and culture. "Social malcontent," the news anchors label her. From the news clips of her, she's...definitely enthusiastic. Especially about upbraiding bigots.

The crew decides to split up. Half will go meet Sir Nigel, while the other half look up this Lady Delilah.

Z, Ree, and Onna pay their respects at Nigel's manor. It's full of hunting trophies. Ree explains to him that they're interested in the myths. He asks what the Republic usually does with planets. Ree says usually they leave them to govern themselves, unless there's some gross violation of Republic law....such as slavery. Eyes gleaming, Sir Nigel suggests that they film an interview while traveling around town and just...catch whatever happens to be in the background.

Sir Nigel's apparently been around. He knows about the Rakata and so forth. He tells them that the Felzin formed a Force tradition after their conquest by the True Sith, until the True Sith were driven away by the sacred tools. The Felzin, like the Ithorians, believe that their forest is sacred. There's more information on the stolen tablets, but they were never fully translated.

He also tells them that local pyschic Emily Phyriss is likely to be called in to aid the investigation. From a noble family, she's prone to dramatics such as fainting. He expects her to lie about Felzin involvement, as it would upset people to contemplate the idea. He's agreeable about passing them further information if he thinks of anything useful.

The others discover that Lady Delilah Soundmaker is aptly named. This woman is loud. Kedrihm'Val introduces their group. Delilah agrees to introduce them to Fa'se'ket, a Felzin who might be willing to talk to them.

And indeed it is. Fa'se'ket tells them the Dragons were driven off when the Makers gave or helped the Felzin construct the sacred tools. Three Star Dragons landed (the story makes it sound like a True Sith ship crashed). Oola shows him a picture of a True Sith, which terrifies the poor Felzin. Flustered, it suggests they speak to other Felzin. There are prophecies... It looks at them more closely. "How did you get here?"

Kedrihm'Val exxplains that they were sent by the Jedi. Fa'se'ket says no well-meaning Felzin would profane the sacred tools by stealing them. If a Felzin took them, it's a rogue or for nefarious purposes. He sets up a meeting with a Felzin shaman.

Their impression, overall, is that the Felzin are sophisticated and well-spoken. They understand Galactic Standard much better than the Avarians are giving them credit for, as well. The groups rejoin in time to catch the advent of Lady Phryiss on the news. Sweeping into the museum with a white dress and elaborately done-up hair, she speaks about how the "spirits speak with her." The commentator speaks quietly into the camera, as if not to disrupt her concentration.

So does her psychic trance thing, waving her hands over the disturbed area and wobbling about. She comes out of it and is just about to proclaim something when a speeder sweeps in with Lord Demetrius in the seat. Amidst a commotion, he grabs her and zips away.

Kedrihm'Val: "This is even weirder than the rest of you."
Dalt agrees. "This is strange even for me."

The newsman's summation is, "The flower of womanhood has been taken in a speeder!" Prompting Ree to yelp, "What?"
"What does that mean?" Kedrihm'Val asks, completely at a loss.

The crew heads to the police to learn what they can about Lord Demetrius. In fact, the police have his address. He operates out of a public house. Z wants to pay him a visit.

Lord Demetrius is sitting at a table near the back when they enter. "I'll handle this!" Z declares.
Ree holds him back. "You are not going to ask him, 'Are you a Cloudstrider' and then crack him one."
"Then I'm out," Z says. "I have needs, Ree!"
"Then buy some liquor," Kedrihm'Val suggests, hoping to keep Z from creating a devastating scene.
Ree heads back and asks politely for Lady Phyriss. Demetrius tells her he's selling the information, so she does the Jedi trick. "She's in the back."

Indeed she is. She's lounging in the back room, wanting money for the information. Apparently she really is psychic, but Ree chews her out for being so mercenary about her powers. Phyriss concedes, telling them she saw two people--one human and one Felzin. He "obviously was a criminal," so she suggests they ask Mr. Nighthand about him. Then she lies back and mutters about being "cursed by these powers." Ree offers, but she doesn't want to be rescued until there are cameras to record it. It's all apparently a financial arrangement. How quaint.

Heading out again, Ree asks Demetrius about this human thief. After threatening him with Z--"I will request Z not kick over your table and kill all your men" to which Z replies, "Alllll right, I won't"--he gives her the name: Theo Halfspeaker. He's an independent criminal with a group of men under him. Demetrius sends them to the appropriate location with an urchin guide who calls himself Pip Pathfinder. He rather reminds Kedrihm'Val of Lydia. Demetrius demurs from further interaction. "I have to practice my evil laugh and my escape route. It's what the public demands of us all."

The urchin shows them to the warehouse. Kedrihm'Val jumps up the wall to peer into a high window, and sees a Felzin wearing a vest and bowler hat, surrounded by about 15 or 20 people who're loading boxes. Two guards cover a back door.

Stun grenades take care of quite a few of them, leaving 11 people standing. Kedrihm'Val stuns two. The Felzin activates two lightsabers.
"Where'd you get those?" Ree asks in surprise.
"You c'n buy a lot of stuff," it tells her.
"Buy them?" she repeats. "Fine!" She turns hers on and attacks the blades. The Felzin Force-lightnings her.

Z taps the Felzin on the shoulder. "'Scuse me. Your name Cloudstrider?" Then kicks it in the chest. Onna wraps a couple of goons in a net launcher, and the Felzin opens its wings and takes off. Z tears one off and starts beating the Felzin with it. It grabs Ree's llightsaber. Zan telekinetically snatches it away and hits the Felzin with it. Ree heals the wounded wing.

Onna wraps a net around the Felzin, and they tie up the captures goons. When the Felzin wakes, they try to explain why they're after the stolen items, but he says he doesn't believe them. Stymied, they tie a Force crystal to him and stash him on the ship. Ree warns him, "It's in your best interests not to try to escape. Trust me."

The goons know some of Theo's other haunts, and are surprised to learn he's not here after a job. This is different.

Kedrihm'Val receives a message that there's been trouble arranging a meeting with the Felzin shaman, because nobody can get hold of the Felzin shamans. They head to the religious center to see what they can see.
"Is everything okay?" Ree asks of a Felzin standing outside.
"Yeah!" says the Felzin, obviously not meaning it.
"Can we go in?" Ree asks politely.
"Suit yourself," the Felzin tells her, sounding unenthused about the idea.
"Shall we take a back way?" Kedrihm'Val asks, getting the subtext.
"The back way is very scenic," it says in relief.

Inside, they discover Theo, oozing with Dark Side corruption, holding the items. One's in his hands; the rest are stored in his backpack. When they yank the items away with telekinesis, Theo activates a lightsaber. Ree activates hers. "Are you really sure you want to fight us?"

He strikes a menacing pose...then Force-speeds out the door and onto an air ski. Ree zips off in pursuit with Z close behind hollering "PRIMAL JEEEEUSTICE!"

Angry Felzin who'd been essentially held hostage by the threat to their sacred tools help the rest of the crew round up goons at the temple while Ree and Z catch up to Theo. She leaps onto his sled.
"What are Jedi doing here?!" he demands.
"I don't really need to explain that to you," she tells him. "You don't want to surrender? My track record with Dark Siders is pretty good."
"We'll see about that," he blusters, then leaps off onto a carriage. Z ki.cks him.

Ree and Theo try to yank at each other's lightsabers, and the rebound hurls Theo from the carriage. She catches him; he reactivates his lightsaber. Z stuns him from behind. She destroys his saber and thanks the Felzin cab driver, who turns around and takes them back.
"The Dark Side doesn't do well for skin," Ree observes to Theo.

And thus they discover that the sacred tools are literally tools--fusion cutters and other utility devices for building machines. The holocron holds a Felzin who teaches the use of the tools. Apparently the True Sith who crashed just weren't prepared for organized resistance. One of the weapons the holocron teaches how to build is a highly advanced blaster rifle. The holo-Felzin says that a different personality holds the information on that, and says it'll try to convince that one to speak to them.

Kedrihm'Val asks it about prophecies. There are rough pictograms on the tablet--a man with a black hand sends people to this planet. "It's Master Skywalker!" Ree exclaims. The Felzin around them look at her. "Ah, you have the prophecy of the Chosen One," Kedrihm'Val observes sardonically. Indeed they do, and they're supposed to give them the holocron. The Felzin say they'll deal with the Felzin Dark Sider, and the Jedi will deal with Theo.

The tablets mention a weapon they used that the Felzin currently don't have--those blaster rifles the holo-Felzin mentioned. Also they demonstrate that the True Sith are vicious freaking bastards. The Felzin allow them to make copies of the tablets. Ree hangs onto the holocron. They lock up Theo on the ship.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Drath: the final(?) showdown

Z suggests that Ree talk to Endek about her father's family, and also just to make sure he's okay. He was at the Alderaanian memorial, after all, and no one has heard from him since. Ree says, "God help Drath if he's already caught him."

The plan is for some of the crew to sneak into Drath's base to check for hostages, while Onna, SARR, and INON fly the ship.

Oola gets into the computer and finds two cells with ysalamiri. There's no video feed. The base contains fifty people. She can route around most of them on the way down to the prison bloc, except for five guards on the cells in question. While Oola disables the alarms on the cells, the others lob stun grenades into the hallway, tie up the guards, and lock them inside. The two cells hold the Solo twins, who decide they're coming along to help.

Drath is in the throne room surrounded by twenty of his people, along with Maul, the other Zeltron, Ventress, and two other Dark Siders. Oola scopes out the situation. Drath seems to have prepped the place specifically to keep the crew from messing with things. Their only options are direct assault or major distraction. But Oola spots something about one of the guards--it's actually Sareth Fenn (who makes a DUST hand signal at the camera)!

With a bit of thought, they decide to go straight in. Oola will do what she can to work the system. Zan takes on Maul; Ree calls Drath. Z wants to fight Ventress. They plan to hit the Zeltron with teh love potion, and the Solo twins will gang up on one Dark Sider, while Kedrihm'Val covers the other. "Ahem!" Dalt cuts in, realizing he hasn't been factored into the plan. "I shall help the children!"

Turns out, Sareth brought Jude and Evan along for the ride! The three of them clear out the left half of the room real fast. Jude takes one of the Dark Siders. The Jedi deflect blaster bolts while Z clears out a sweep with his flechette launcher. "Come get some sweet, pale-face!" he yells at Ventress. She charges him. Kedrihm'Val bounces across the room off the backs and heads of soldiers, knocking them out. Ventress Force-lobs one of their unconscious forms at Z, who crows, "Oh baby, I don't need no gifts!"

Kedrihm'Val takes out two more guards, then a Dark Sider leaps at him. Evan and Fenn wipe out another section of the room. Z and Ventress leap at each other, colliding in mid-air. Lydia faces off against the Zeltron. Dalt and jaina run behind Fenn toward Jude's opponent.

Oola starts shutting down the security. SARR is shreeding the base from outside, making the whole place shake. His laughter rings out across the comm system. Oola spots an incoming fleet--Drath called for backup--and points them out to SARR while she turns the base's defense on them.

Ree leaps over a stunned trooper Drath tries to trip her with. Jude Force-lightnings the Dark Sider in the head, reducing him to charcoal. "Don't do that, kids," Dalt tells the twins, while he wipes out a trooper of his own.

Kedrihm'Val caves in the other Dark Sider's ribs with three crushing blows. Zan and Maul, again, fuck each other up. Oola zaps incoming ships, but there are a lot of them. While Ree closes with Drath, having to dodge just about every flying thing in the room, Zan cuts Maul in half, then immediately engages with the trooper behind him as Maul jumps bodies. "Ugh, lame!" he exclaims.

Ventress, meanwhile, has wrecked Z's jet pack and gun belt. He attaches a detonator to her waist, which hurls her into the wall.

A random trooper tries to run. Oola sees a super star destroyer's shadow fall across the sensors, and squeals in glee.

Kedrihm'Val jump-kicks Ventress, then pummels her. Zan slashes Maul across the stomach, while losing an arm himself. Z leaps over and executes Maul from behind, on his way toward Ventress.

Maul jumps into the fleeing trooper. "No way," Zan groans. Evan shoots him.

The Solo kids see the trooper pull a lightsaber. Dalt trips them with his cloak before they can intercept. "that was a really gay flourish, sir!" Jaina cheekily tells him.

"I'm your only hope against the True Sith, you know," Drath tells Ree.

Kedrihm'Val knocks out Ventress. "PRIMAL JEEEUSTICE!" Z crows. Lydia takes off the Zeltron girl's hand, while Zan and Maul each account for a hand of their own (or each other's). Zan's quite literally disarmed.

Ree nails Drath hard enough to stagger him. "I'm trying to save everyone!" Drath argues. "My people are happy to sacrifice themselves for my glory!"

Z takes Maul's other hand. Zan loses his left leg, but Maul loses his chest.

Aaaaand an unconscious guard sits up. Lydia beheads him with a well-aimed lightsaber throw. SARR comes in, dragging the shredded remains of an escaped guard, just in time to help Zan. "I had a feeling someone was going to get Mauled," he quips.

And Ree beheads Drath. Oola takes a picture and sends it to his fleet, which stops fighting. Their only live prisoner is Ventress.

Kedrihm'Val notes that the piles of Sith stuff are absent, and there's no sign of cloning tech. They might see Maul and Drath again, after all.

They find a holovid recording of Drath killing Sent after Sent rants about being Palpatine's son, while Maul applauds mildly. That gets saved for broadcast.

But Kedrihm'Val realizes something: Onna's on the base, and she has no protection against Maul's body-jumping. There's no answer when they try to comm her, so Ree and Kedrihm'Val take off in pursuit. When they arrive, they find that INON already stunned her. Kedrihm'Val Force-lights her to eject Maul, and Ree sucks him back into his rock.

After all that, they call the Jedi Temple to report. Luke's comment on Sent: "Monologuing! The Emperor loved to monologue."

Kedrihm'Val and SARR are drenched in blood (the only two who don't use either distance weapons or cauterizing laser swords). They thrust Ventress into a cage with some ysalamiri. They head out of orbit to dock with the Ace in the Hole, Lo Tser's custom-stolen super-star destroyer. He greets them with a warm welcome for his daughter. "We'll drop you in the space lanes. It'll give me time to yell at my daughter for only sending a message. 'There's a Sith fleet coming.' " Noting that Kedrihm'Val truly needs a shower, he hands him a bar of his favorite soap. "Here, I find this gets blood off great."

They find the Dark Harvester on the base. That comes back with them, in hopes they can find a way to fix that mess. Z is worried about the truly prodigious amounts of evil stuff they keep leaving at the Temple. Kedrihm'Val agrees. The plan is to store the Dark Harvester at a secure base instead. Zan gets tossed into a bacta tank for a couple of days.

Ventress's apprentice and the Bothan Dark Sider are still unaccounted for. They do retrieve Drath's computer core, which has some decent tactical plans against the True Sith. It's not evident what he planned to use the Dark Harvester for, but he had some plan for it. It'll take a while to examine all the files.

Oola gives Sareth Fenn a Krayt pearl pendant. He asks what they'll do with the two months they've got before the True Sith are ETA. "Thrawn has agreed to help," Kedrihm'Val tells him.
"Alright, what do you plan to do with the month and a half?"

Kedrihm'Val asks whether the True Sith's path intersects with Ree's world...and yep. But first it goes straight through the Core.

Ree thinks about learning more about the Ancients. Kedrihm'Val doesn't trust them. "They played dominoes with the galaxy," he points out, recalling the legend about the True Sith and the Architects in a game about life in the galaxy. But they can dig up archaeological stuff on the Architects.

Rakata Prime

Deciding to hunt down Revan's travels, Ree, Oola, and Dalt put some work into spiffing up the Starwind to give it more speed. They're thinking Rakata Prime might have hints of Revan's path.

Meanwhile, Sent is rallying people against the Jedi. Ree notes that his charisma is operating at an unnatural level. Luke ponders this, asking Ree to sound out Dalt on his chronology, see if it leads to any hints on his family.

Ree: "Oh! I seem to remember some time ago a mention of an office and an assistant?"
Luke: "You have an office and an assistant."
Ree: "Where is it?"
Luke: "Uh..where is it?" Digging it up, he points her to the right location, where her assistant Zel Krend, member of the newly refounded Explorer Corp, introduces himself. In the face of her repeated apologies, he's amused that she only just noticed.

Zel seems to be very self-motivated. He gives Ree a call after digging through Sent's speeches. Over the last two years, his oratory style has grown more and more similar to Palpatine's, and his rhetoric has become increasingly humanocentric. Wondering if Dalt and Sent ever actually met, Zel asks Ree for some of Dalt's DNA. "Do you have any of his genetic material?"

Ree replies, "We have a Dalt!" Hitting him up in the lab, she plucks a hair from his head. "Everyone keeps doing that," complains Dalt. "Hah! That got a reaction. Tables were turned on you!" He tells Ree he never met Sent personally.

When she brings the hair back to Zel, he refers to her as "Master," and complains about clones.

Speaking of which, E-Val remains under guard.

Since Ree has no idea how to go about it, she gets Oola to chat Dalt up about his childhood. He tells her he didn't draw; he built things. But he's a little vague about his recollections. He reminisces about building little droids to run errands for him. Later in life, he used them to steal DNA--everybody's DNA he could get his hands on. Which, he suddenly realizes, is still at his CorpSec base. Then he gives a dissertation on cloning janitors if you want a successful evil empire, because they're the one group of people who end up getting into everything. SARR makes a note.

They turn their attention to the newly acquired clones. Dalt hopes for a solution to his "give everyone the Force" conundrum other than killing everyone and bringing them back. "You really want to give everyone Force powers?" Oola asks him.

"Perhaps to some extent I have seen the error of my ways," Dalt replies.

Kyp asks Ree's advice on dealing with a family. "I walked into Luke's office and he said, "There's no way I can answer what you're about to ask me. Go ask Leia." And Leia wasn't available and Han was no help." Ree suggests hobbies and sports. "So I'm supposed to take my brother on dates?" Kyp protests in confusion. SAR suggests Ree ask her mom. He also suggests Primal Justice. And drinking games. "Man things are very simple. Get him the Primal Justice vids. You've got the connections for the episodes that aren't aired yet."
"But," Ree protests, "that wouldn't be right!"
"The boy died," SARR tells her. "Give him the extra videos! I can give you a great deal." Ree calls the production studio instead, where they fall over backwards to help her out. "You should see what you get if you call in Z's voice," SARR comments.
"The clap," Dalt opines. But, SARR warns her, she'd better prepare to get drunken calls from Kyp. "Bonding happens at highest temperature. It's not a painless experience."

Kedrihm'Val hangs out with the new clones, trying to help them feel welcome.

With all that sorted, it's off to Rakata Prime. They bring Zan and Dalt along.

Zel calls again on the way out: Sent is giving a speech at the Alderanian asteroid belt. "You can accomplish anything with an army of sad and determined liberals at your back," he observes. Kedrihm'Val suggests they get in touch with Endek. From him, they learn that he's been trying to trace Sent's messages, but he can't pin down the receptor. Val and Oola recall their escape from Thrawn--did any messages arrive at that location around that point in time? Why, yes, Endek tells them. So Sent's in touch with somebody--but is it Thrawn or Drath?

Zel pushes a garbled news transmission to them two days out from Rakata Prime--there's been an attack at a speech at the Alderanian memorial, by Drath.

On arrival at Rakata Prime, they read a slew of lifeforms. Scanning for buildings, they read some abandoned buildings and one temple. That's where they head.

Inside the temple, under 3000 years of accumulated dust, Kedrihm'Val spots a pressure trap and a secret door. Oola cracks those, and discovers a turbo lift shaft behind the door. Z flies up with his jet pack and tosses the others a rope. Upstairs is a lab of some kind. Oola and Dalt poke, and Oola discovers a math puzzle that activates a map. Dalt finds blueprints for various dangerous superweapons. Ahhh, the Rakata. He snags a set that particularly worries him. Ree remembers the temple used to be protected behind force fields. Dalt wonders if this means they were expected.

Oola solves the puzzle, activating both a map and a countdown, which is two months away. The map, which is Old Republic tech, shows a battle line with a large fleet being held off by a small group of ships. The fleet is pressing toward Chiss space. If this is current, then that fleet might arrive at the borders of the Ascendency within days. They need to send the Chiss a warning.

Poking through the rest of the temple, they find weapons and stuff in various stages of completion. SARR helps load the dangerous tech and sings spirituals.

Oola and Ree find a hangar bay. Two ships are gone; two are still there--Rakata ships, in perfect working order. They're the size of light freighters, but well-armed. Kedrihm'Val considers that this temple must be where the Rakata built that crystal flower. At about that point, the hangar bay doors slam closed, and a hologram of HK-47 appears, demanding proof of the date. He mocks Ree for typing it in. Oola feeds in a news feed instead. "Ah, a meatbag with a brain among you," says HK-47. The doors open again.

They discover a shaft leading straight down. It emerges on the biggest amphitheatre any of them have ever seen--hundreds of thousands of seats. The seats are rigged with wires and tubes; it's obviously where they created the crystal flower. Kedrihm'Val notices that there's nothing left of any physical body. The Rakata turned themselves into pure Force energy, Dalt theorizes.

They disassemble the concentrating pillar, to make sure this thing can never be triggered again.

That just leaves a spire to explore. "Oh, spires," comments Kedrihm'Val. "They always turn out well."
"The spires at the Jedi Temple are fine," says Ree. "Master Luke has an office in one."
"My point stands," Kedrihm returns.

The chamber at the top of the spire is wrecked. Obviously a lightsaber fight took place here, and a catastrophic one. Pulling images out of the one half-functional camera left in the room, they discover that an initial guess of Vader is right. A central chamber in the room held a working duplicate of HK-47, which took on Vader when he arrived (presumably following the trail of the Rakata ship he faced off against). Finishing off the droid, Vader eventually activated the central chamber's security pad, entered and then left again.

The pad opens for Ree. Inside, she finds an unopened box, and a holocomm--featuring a Jedi woman Ree has never seen. This woman explains that by the time Ree (naming her directly) finds this, it will be weeks to months before the True Sith arrive. She outlines tactics and plans to give to "Master Skywalker." (The thought occurs that Vader may have left convinced that he would eventually acquire an apprentice named Ree.) The woman, whom Ree is pretty sure is the Jedi Exile, says that the temple is timed to blow up an hour after they leave. The planet itself has been converted into a massive bomb that will go off when the True Sith pass. The locked container opens when Ree takes up the comm. Inside is an odd little glowing ball, which Dalt identifies as a power source.

Though they have this assurance that the contents of the temple will not fall into enemy hands, Dalt still wants to take things.

Heading back to the ship, they receive clearer news on the Alderan attack. Drath had a small fleet, and the site was notably poorly defended by Republic security. Most of the Alderanian groups are dead; there is no word from Sent, or from Jacen or Jaina, who were there with Jedi representatives. A message from Zel indicates that all security arrangements were made by Sent. All Sent's possessions and bank accounts are gone. The results on Sent's DNA check are "disturbing." He refuses to tell them more until they get back.

They arrive to unload the dangerous miscellania they collected from the temple. Dalt tells them the plans he found were for the Star Forge. Oola's surprised to see that it's actually quite straightforward to build, except for a singular power source...which is about yay-big.

Ree and Zan head to the Council chamber, where they drop off the information on the True Sith fleet. Lue shows them the DNA test: the only Sent DNA is that which gives Raasik Sent his familial resemblance. The rest is...Palpatinesque. Kyp makes the inevitable connecction: "Someone hit that." Dalt's mom, in fact, yes. "Oh, shit, Dalt's in the room," Kyp continues. "Oh my," is Dalt's only, disgusted, response. But Dalt's mother wasn't a Sent. And Sent's actions indicate that he knew about his ancestry. Public opinion is currently against Jedi, for not using their abilities to bring back Alderaan.

So. The galaxy is again under attack. The Republic will have to renew its alliance with Thrawn, find Drath and Sent, and work out ways to deal with the True Sith once Rakata Prime goes up. Drath, Ree is told, is her responsibility.

The first step is to analyze news footage to see if they recognize any of the ships that flew with Drath.

But first, Ree returns to her room to drop her things off...where she finds a datapad. it's a star chart for a planet at the edge of the Unknown Region. She turns that over to the Librarian to run checks on. Turns out it's another planet that vanished from the charts when the Emperor took over. There's a heavy traffic pattern to and from it for the last several months. Drath's base?

Talking to the clones, they learn that they often saw the Zeltrons, Ventress, and Drath. A message from Luke tells the crew that Thrawn has sent his information on Drath: 2000 followers spread across various planets. The "lost" planet is an old Imperial testing facility. They consider going in with a modified cloak on one of the Rakata ships. Dalt has such a cloaking device almost finished.

Oola sends a message to her father. Ree's holocron hints to her that her family on her mother's side might have been observers for Revan's line.

Ree gives everybody the "You don't have to come if you don't want to" line, which results in unimpressed stares. So it's on to the invisible planet!

"Dude," Z says to Dalt, "your mom is a whore." Dalt can hardly disagree.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Steampunk Star Wars characters

After a series of jokes and pestering the GM about visiting a steampunk world for a story arc, these happened.

When negotiations fail, fashionable but stalwart Noble Onna Reulki takes up her pair of ivory-handled brass blasters against enemies of the Republic.

As humble as she is heroic, Jedi Master Ree Shevan wields her lightsaber in the name of law and justice!

Lydia is the plucky young apprentice of Ree Shevan. Growing up as an orphaned waif on Chandrila, Lydia learned many unorthodox skills that she now brings to bear in the name of the Jedi.

A high-flying bounty hunter whose seemingly endless supply of weapons is rivaled only by his creative application of them, Zaan'yan "Z" Cloudstrider carries out his love affair with rocket packs and enormous guns in the name of the Republic. So long as he gets paid on time, at least.

The beautiful blue Twilek Oolan Tser is a deft hand with all things mechanical. But if you cross her, you'll learn the hard way that she always keeps an (explosive) ace up her sleeve.

Ezrek Dalt possesses a scientific mind without peer...and an ego to match. After being pulled back from the brink of madness by our intrepid heroes, he finds that the best medicine for his occasional instability is praise for his indisputable genius. Lots and lots of praise.

Wise in the primal ways of nature and the soul, the mystic primitive Kedrihm'Val is a stranger to civilization and its technological trappings. Making his way through the modern jungle with the help of his friends, he fights loyally at their side with bare fists and athletic skill.